31 January 2012

The Vanishing 1.P-K4 Prophecy

An ad for the 'World Amateur Team & U.S. Amateur Team East ' in the most recent issues of Chess Life reminds us that the year 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Fischer - Spassky World Championship match. (It also marks the 20th anniversary of their return match, but I'll save that for later in the year.) The ad reproduced a prophetic image ('But, Boris, what if he doesn't play 1.P-K4?') from the June 1972 Chess Life, pictured below.

On its content page the 1972 magazine explained,

A commission drawing marvelously executed by Bob Walker, a New York commercial artist. The likenesses of Spassky, Kosygin and Brezhnev have been magnificently captured.

As is so often the case, the chessboard was less 'magnificently captured'. Note also the CL cover price, $0.85, and compare that with the December 2011 CL, which had a cover price of $3.95. How well does that track inflation over the 40 year period?

1 comment:

Dr. Malcolm C. Harris, Sr. said...

Even if one has not read Solzhenitsyn's In The First Circle, this cover alone is a good example of how the soviet culture discouraged underlings from delivering bad news. The Soviet chess federation was furious with this cover as they saw it as making fun of their champion. Consequently they whited out this cover on all 50,000 copies sent to the Soviet Union.
Boy was game 4 a surprise!
The moral: "Don't shoot the messenger," a lesson Xerxes II learned the hard way.